2011 Nissan Murano

It takes a bit of imagining, but it might be worth the effort: a Nissan Murano crossover SUV with no metal roof and just two doors. That is indeed Nissan's plan for a new Murano variant to go on sale in 2011.

It looks like the Los Angeles Auto Show, coming up at the end of November, is when the Murano convertible (or whatever Nissan decides to call it) will make its official debut. Some dealers, though, have already seen it at a recent corporate event in Las Vegas. "Kind of unusual," said one attendee with a gift of stating the obvious, but still smart enough not to go on record. He (or she) went on to say: "It actually looks better with the top down."

Nissan knows this is a somewhat radical step. "There's a degree of bravery for us to bring out a car like that right now," said Brian Carolin, Nissan North America's senior VP of sales and marketing. "It will surprise a lot of people."

At least no one can accuse Nissan of being boring, what with the recent controversially styled Juke compact crossover, the Leaf electric vehicle, the GT-R supercar and the sporty 370Z. However, this isn't the first time someone has had the idea of a convertible SUV. Audi made such a concept – the Cross Cabriolet, powered by a diesel engine – for the 2007 Los Angeles Auto Show. And the Jeep Wrangler has a design that goes back to the Second World War.

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Colin Ryan has driven hundreds of cars thousands of miles while writing for BBC Top Gear magazine, Popular Mechanics, the Los Angeles Times, European Car, Import Tuner and many other publications, websites, TV shows, etc.

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